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R. J. Tucker "tuckshop7" (Essex)

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Hitler's Vienna: A Dictator's Apprenticeship
Hitler's Vienna: A Dictator's Apprenticeship
by Brigitte Hamann
Edition: Hardcover

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lineages of Fascism, 19 Sept. 2007
Brigitte Hamann's fascinating trawl through the maelstrom of Viennese political life in the early 20th century sets the scene for the emergence of a new form of virulent racial politics. It's quite astonishing to discover just how overt the racial and ethnic hostilities were during this period of central european history - the perfect forcing ground for aspiring political animals learning the power of rhetoric to manipulate and control the newly enfranchised masses. Hitler couldn't have had a better schooling in the art of demagoguery and political thuggery.

Dr Hamman successfully teases out the various half truths and mythologies concerning young Hitler's sojourn in Vienna and gives a more plausible account of his unorthodox schooling and ideological development. The testimony of various character witnesses are examined to give a more nuanced portrait of the young Hitler and the process whereby this diabolical genius was able to exploit the insecurities and fear engendered by by war and social breakdown.

The Tartar Steppe (Penguin Modern Classics)
The Tartar Steppe (Penguin Modern Classics)
by Dino Buzzati
Edition: Paperback

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A study in Solitude, 23 Aug. 2006
Buzzati's minor classic draws on the elements of Kafkaesque menace and isolation to create a unique tale of considerable power and cumulative unease. The growing sense of abandonment experienced by the hero is conveyed in an unadorned prose that somehow generates a hallucinatory sense of forboding, without specifying the exact nature of the threat, beyond the ostensible setting of a forgotten military outpost of some unamed empire. Moving and revelatory, an existential masterpiece.

Leo Strauss and the Politics of American Empire
Leo Strauss and the Politics of American Empire
by Anne Norton
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.00

7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strauss against the Straussians..., 14 Nov. 2005
Anne Norton's fluent discussion of the Straussian legacy gives us, perhaps for the first time for non-academics, an understanding of the intellectual roots of neo-conservative thinking and its influence on policy makers in the U.S.
Her unique insight into the cabalistic world of Straussian academics and their disciples no doubt derives from her own experiences as a student of leading Straussians at the University of Chicago. This is what gives her account its authenticity and pungency as a critique of policy makers and opinion formers who have, in her opinion, distorted those features of Leo Strauss' thinking which could offer a real solution to the seemingly intractable problems facing U.S foreign policy at the present time.
That Anne Norton manages to suggest the subtlety and depth of Strauss' political philosophy in such a short compass is a tribute to her scholarship and analytical skill. It may even give you a taste for reading the man himself...

Gargoyles (Phoenix Fiction)
Gargoyles (Phoenix Fiction)
by Thomas Bernhard
Edition: Paperback

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A hallucinatory journey with Berhard., 1 Sept. 2005
This early novel from the Austrian master introduces many Bernhardian themes that will become familiar to readers that become drawn into the strangely addictive world of Bernhardian eccentrics and deranged visionaries. The first half of this novel begins conventionally enough, being an account of a young boys journey with his father as a peripatetic doctor in a bleak mountain region somewhere in central europe. The unrelieved suffering of the benighted inhabitants is matched only by the harshness of the landscape. What relief the doctor brings only seems a temporary respite to the doomed residents he encounters.
The second half of this novel introduces the mature Bernhard style, being the solipsistic musings of a clearly unhinged aristocrat. The decline of the Prince and his dynasty represent the corruptions of spirit and anomie that haunt the country as a whole and will become an abiding theme of the Bernhardian figure.
Much imitated but rarely equaled, the Bernhard oeuvre stands as a unique monument to the follies and madness that was 20th century european history.

The American Film Theatre Collection: Butley [1976] [DVD]
The American Film Theatre Collection: Butley [1976] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Alan Bates

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gray's Anatomy - Butley exposed., 21 Jan. 2005
This adaptation of Simon Gray's successful stage play dates from the 1970s but still retains its power as an excruciating exploration of one man's moral disintegration, which reaches a poignant climax in a futile attempt to keep a foothold in his former life.
Ben Butley's life may have been on the skids for some time, but the origins of his malaise seem to be rooted in the collision between a powerful intellect and an emotional incontinence. Butley dispenses with T.S.Eliot in favour of Woolly Bear and Mistress Pussy, an exchange that may signify that an immersion in the recondite world of modern poetry may have its perils for a certain kind of sensibility. We certaintly get the impression from Alan Bates' masterly performance of an overwhelming sense of ennui, nurtured in an academic world that has for him lost all meaning and purpose. This university lecturer clearly possesses an intellect superior to most of his colleagues - but what good has it done him? Without a centre, 'an anchor' as Simon Gray explains in his thoughtful commentary, Butley flounders - his ribald and devastatingly funny commentary on his colleagues and former lovers only faintly conceal his inner torment. His agony may be self-inflicted, but that doesn't make his suffering any less real or moving. An unusual DVD - not the kind of thing you see produced too often. Perhaps its theatrical origins will be too obvious for some, but for those who enjoy a literate and bleakly humorous take on the comlexities of emotional life it's a must.

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